Steven Gerrard was “forced” to bring the lockdown rulebreakers back due to injuries in the Rangers squad.
That is according to former Gers defender Alan Hutton who, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the absence of Ryan Jack and James Tavernier gave Bongani Zungu and Nathan Patterson a surprise opportunity.
The duo, along with Calvin Bassey, all returned to the substitutes’ bench against Royal Antwerp less than two weeks after breaking lockdown rules.
The 19-year-old right-back replaced Leon Balogun at half-time and made an immediate impact to score the Light Blues’ second 17 second after the kick-off.
Hutton admitted some might have doubts about bringing the miscreant trio back and suggested they would not have got the chance without injuries elsewhere.
Asked about Patterson’s return to the squad, Hutton told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “Absolutely unbelievable.
“I mean some people would have questioned him and the other boys being put into the squad so early. I think if you look at Gerrard, his focus is on the pitch.
“Whatever happens off it will be getting dealt with but as the manager of Rangers, you have to put the team first.
“Let’s face it, if everybody had been fit, I doubt they’d have been in the squad, that’s my honest opinion.
“But the way things have panned out, with Tavernier, Ryan Jack, Kemar Roofe, all these sorts of situations, it’s kind of forced his hand. He has to use the squad.
“He’s the Rangers manager, he has to do what’s best for the team, and that’s what was best for the team at that moment in time. He probably wanted to give them a tougher lesson, but ultimately it’s paid off.”